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Index card 027 - Latin America, with an Ñ
The Unfinished Novel of Bernardino Casablanca by César López Cuadras

51-year-old Truman Capote escapes from his perfect life in Beverly Hills to visit his friend Narciso in the fictional city of Guasachi, Sinaloa, Mexico. And even though “Guasachi” is a fictional place, the weather from Sinaloa, the smell of death, and the small-sized Pacifico beer (only available in Mexico) are accurate. Capote refuses to talk literature with his Mexican friend, but Narciso insists. In the “cantina,” Narciso orders scallops, shrimps, oysters, and neverending rounds of Pacifico to mitigate the hot weather. He shares his literary project with Capote: a novel that tries to solve the recent murder of Bernardino, the local pimp and businessman, owner of “Casablanca,” the whorehouse of Guasachi. Narciso tries to recreate the literary experiment of Capote, but with an open file. He soon realizes that in Mexico, things work differently. Narciso, the writer, becomes the detective, getting involved in the Narco Culture and the extreme violence of the north of Mexico.

The Unfinished Novel of Bernardino Casablanca is a forgotten gem of Mexican literature. It was the first novel to capture the reality of the north of Mexico and inaugurated the new wave of noir novels in Mexican literature. César López Cuadras, a Sinaloa native, recreates life in the small towns of the most prominent drug lords without effort. Narciso, the writer/detective, is a unique character outside the dogma of American or western detectives.

Thanks to a mutual friend, I had the opportunity to contact the family of César, who died in 2015, and they gave me the rights to translate the book into English for the first time. If you want to read the translation as I work on it, you can subscribe to my buy me a coffee, and I will send you my monthly advance of this mind-blowing book. See you in Sinaloa, Bookfriend!

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A book can also exist as an autonomous and self-sufficient form, including perhaps a text that emphasizes that form, a text that is an organic part of that form: here begins the new art of making books. (Ulises Carrion)

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